Sony is being faced with massive legal troubles as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) begins proceedings in Federal Court. The Sony Europe branch is being targeted regarding consumer violations in dealings with Australian customers on the PlayStation Store.
The ACCC is looking at purchases made since September 2017, where refunds for faulty games were not honoured. Sony Europe allegedly outlined this to consumers seeking support. They state, unless the developer of the software explicitly says their game is faulty or warranting a refund, consumers would not receive one… which is clearly ludicrous.
Rod Sims, Chair of the ACCC, explains “…Sony Europe gave false and misleading information to its customers about their rights in relation to games sold via its PlayStation Store… Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store.”
Australia’s Software Sorrows
These allegations come at a timely period of interesting growth in downloadable games. Australian Steam users faced similar refund sorrows a few years ago and were only revised recently to an extent. Refunds are now available but within locked behind a threshold of playtime and Steam themselves warranting the game as faulty or broken.
Epic Games Store, Ubisoft’s UPlay, and EA’s Origin have all encountered issues with their services, too. Australian gamers are incredibly lucky to have such enforced consumer protection with the ACCC. Although, when dealing with international service providers, not everything is always up to scratch.
As the ACCC website states, “Under the consumer guarantees in the Australian Consumer Law, consumers have the right to a refund, repair or replacement if a product is faulty because it is not of acceptable quality, is not fit for purpose or does not match descriptions made by the businesses, depending on the seriousness of the fault.”
Additionally, Sony Europe’s Terms of Service says that “its liability to provide redress for faulty products was limited“. This is simply incorrect, according to the ACCC media release. “No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies,” Rod Sims reassures.
If you believe you’ve been affected, want to read more, or follow the ACCC’s actions, you can see the full media release online.